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I spoke to Dr. Jay Morris, neuroradiologist at the Mayo Clinic, in a Facebook Live segment Tuesday from the RSNA industry conference in Chicago. Dr. Morris gave me a tour of the 3D printed models used to treat patients in institutions around the world.

The Mayo Clinic began using sophisticated 3D printing technology eight years ago to separate a set of conjoined twins. The surgeons had wanted a model of the twins` internal organs and anatomy to study in advance of the complex surgery. Today, the technology is widely used, both at the Mayo Clinic and other medical institutions globally.

Dr. Morris explained that 3D printing technology is a breakthrough for surgeons working with tumors, for example, as physical models are far more useful than reading radiology scans. "An infant`s skull and a 60-year-old`s skull look the same on the screen," he says. "But when a surgeon is working on a patient, they`re looking at a real life-sized object."

SEE ALSO: More Digital Industry Insider

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2015 Chevrolet BoltEV

The traditional auto industry is frantically trying to get ahead the curve when it comes to electric cars. Numerous automakers are either bringing new electric vehicles to market — or announcing bold plans to do so over the next decade.

But do they have a shot at success? Morgan Stanely lead auto analyst isn`t so sure.

He explained why in a research note published Tuesday, in which he cut his rating and price target for Delphi, a major auto-parts supplier.

The target-price drop is notable: 59 from 74. I won`t get into Jonas` take on why Delphi is vulnerable — a lot of analysts like the supplier part of the autos sector better than the manufacturer or "OEM" side. They figure that suppliers, due their diversification, will make out better in weak markets than individual OEMs, which are highly reliant on consumer trends, such as the current rage for pickups and SUV in the US.

Jonas isn`t sure that thinking will hold up.

What`s more interesting in Jonas` note is this:

[Electric vehicles] are not just a trend, but a new strategy. A major move away from internal combustion technology is not something we believe OEMs and its supply base can easily cope with. Eroding ICE content can lead to lower growth and margin pressure. A significant number of new business wins in the areas of electrification may be possible, but require higher-for-longer engineering and launch costs that we do not believe are in consensus expectations yet. We take a more conservative stance on such costs given the unprecedented nature of many of these programs and the risk factors that could impact OEMs that are outside of [Delphi`s] control.

Traditional OEM`s are abundantly aware of what Jonas` is talking about. With EV`s currently only taking up about 1% of the global market, they represent no threat to gas-powered technology.

But if the EV market share expands, and expands significantly, a century`s worth of intellectual property could rapidly be as useless as a stagecoach for cross-country travel.

Jonas could be too sweepingly bullish on EVs. So far, consumers have shown little interest in the cars, and they`ve had almost a decade to develop desire for them. They`ve had Teslas to buy, so there`s no arguing that EVs have been held back because they aren`t fast, luxurious, or sexy.

DLPH Chart

The bottom line is that EVs are seen as too expensive and too much of a hassle to charge. There also aren`t really any big electric SUVs, and many Americans want that type of vehicle at the moment.

However, Jonas has put his finger on something of an Armageddon thesis for the traditional industry. Hundreds of billions in global market capitalization has been created over the decades, almost all of it powered by gasoline.

Shares of Delphi were trading down about 4% on Tuesday, to 64.

 

SEE ALSO: A potential nightmare scenario has arrived for the electric-car industry

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NOW WATCH: Tesla made a big software update after a Chinese company remotely hacked the brakes of a Model S

FORD AV

Ford’s self-driving cars are coming to Europe.

The Detroit automaker plans to begin testing its autonomous cars in European countries next year, the company announced Tuesday. 

Because rules of the road, traffic signs, and road layouts differ from country to country in Europe, it`s important that the company test in the region, Thomas Lukaszewicz, manager of automated driving at Ford of Europe, said in a press statement. 

Ford has a bold vision for its driverless future. 

The company currently has about 30 self-driving cars in its fleet, but it plans to triple that number in 2017, bringing the total number of cars in its fleet to about 100.

What`s more, the company also plans to launch a fleet of autonomous taxis for public use in at least one city in the US by 2021. But, unlike other automakers, Ford’s self-driving cars won`t have a steering wheel, gas or brake pedals.

Ford LiDAR

Most major car companies have said that they are planning to roll out a self-driving car sometime during the next five years, but the levels of autonomy vary. Many car companies have committed to semi-autonomous systems that enable the car to be completely autonomous in certain driving situations, but that still have a steering wheels so that the driver can take back control of the vehicle when needed.

However, Ford wants to make its cars fully autonomous because it sees these semi-autonomous systems as a possible liability. This is because people begin to trust the systems too much and fail to re-engage control of the vehicle when needed.

“We are not in a race to be first, but we are in a race to do the right thing, which is why we are building on more than ten years of experience on how to responsibly deliver a ride service that is fully autonomous that does not require a driver to re-engage,” Ken Washington, vice president of advanced research and engineering, told Business Insider during an interview in August.

“Our research has led us to understand that it [re-engagement] is very difficult to do and we don’t know how to enable that, so that is what led us to pursuing a full level four autonomous vehicle and this re-engagement issue goes away,” Washington said.

SEE ALSO: Ford is building cars without steering wheels, gas or brake pedals

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NOW WATCH: A 1 billion city is being built in New Mexico — but no one will be allowed to live there

2016 is nearly over, thus concluding the first big year for virtual reality headsets. The long-awaited Oculus Rift from Facebook arrived back in March, followed soon after by the HTC Vive in April, and several months later by PlayStation VR in October. 

But are consumers actually buying these things? Is anyone using VR?

PlayStation VR

It`s still early days, but the latest projections from gaming and VR analytics firm SuperData Research aren`t reassuring. Here`s the breakdown, from best to worst, for projected sales in 2016:

  • Sony`s PlayStation VR — 745,434
  • HTC Vive — 450,083
  • Facebook`s Oculus Rift 355,088

Sony`s clearly got a major lead, and that`s largely due to price.

playstation vr launch bundle

PlayStation VR starts at 400 and works with any PlayStation 4 — still the most popular game console, with over 40 million sold worldwide. Not one of those 40+ million people? The PlayStation 4 costs 300, and is often on sale for 249 this holiday season. Moreover, PlayStation VR a simple plug-and-play setup, making it more accessible to the average consumer.


Ben Gilbert, Senior Correspondent at Business Insider, describes lifelike memories from his favorite virtual reality video game on season 2 of Codebreaker, our podcast produced with Marketplace. Click for full episodes.

 

In the case of the Oculus Rift (600) and the HTC Vive (800), there`s the added cost of a high-end gaming PC on top of the higher initial price. At minimum, you`re spending 500 to power the Oculus Rift headset; more realistically, you need to spend more like 1,000 to use the Rift or Vive with all VR experiences. And if you`re spending that much, you`re likely looking for the "room-scale" VR experience that both headsets offer — the ability to walk around and interact in VR. That combination of high-price, technical prowess, and extra space is assuredly limiting the market potential for Facebook and HTC`s headsets.

Oculus Rift

On the flip side, Samsung`s phone-powered Gear VR headsets are looking to surpass 2.3 million in sales in 2016. Though the headset offers a less immersive experience than the trio of high-end headsets from Sony, Facebook, and HTC, Gear VR costs just 100 and works with Samsung`s Galaxy phones. Slap your phone in and you`re off to the virtual races!  

As prices come down across the next year, consumers could start migrating from entry-level headsets like the Gear VR to Sony`s PlayStation VR. But it`ll take a marketing push from Sony, which SuperData Research`s director of research Stephanie Llamas says is still missing.

"Supply inconsistencies and lack of marketing have put [Sony] behind their potential. They did not offer any first-party deals this weekend [Black Friday/Cyber Monday], restock bundles or market the device, pushing instead for the PlayStation 4 Pro," Llamas says.

If 2016 is the first big year of VR, perhaps 2017 will be the year where it takes root.

Codebreaker, our podcast, asks: can alternate realities save us? Listen and subscribe

codebreaker_VR

SEE ALSO: Virtual reality is being used to recreate crime scenes in the courtroom

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NOW WATCH: The PlayStation VR is finally on sale — and it blew us away

LA UNION, Colombia/ CHAPECO, Brazil (Reuters) - A plane carrying Brazilian top-tier soccer team Chapecoense to the biggest game in its history crashed in the Colombian mountains after reporting an electrical fault, killing 72 people, authorities said on Tuesday.
ANKARA (Reuters) - Twelve people, including eleven teenagers, were killed when a fire swept through a girls dormitory in the southern Turkish province of Adana on Tuesday, officials said.
BERLIN (Reuters) - A German citizen employed by Germany`s domestic intelligence agency has been arrested on accusations he made Islamist declarations on the internet and revealed internal agency material, the agency said on Tuesday.
HAVANA (Reuters) - Leaders of Cuba`s leftist allies and a U.S. delegation including Washington`s top diplomat in Havana were to join Cubans at a rally on Tuesday commemorating Fidel Castro, the man who built a Communist state on the doorstep of the United States.


Netflix just unveiled the trailer for "White Rabbit Project" and it looks fantastic. The show stars the "Mythbusters" Build Team of Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara and will feature them tracking down all sorts of internet-inspired facts and fiction.

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tim cook Maddie Ziegler

There may be "unprecedented replacement demand" for the iPhones Apple is planning to launch in the second half of 2017, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a note to clients and seen by Business Insider.

Kuo believes that Apple could ship between 90 million and 110 million iPhones in the second half of 2017.

Apple may even end up shipping more iPhones than the 113 million it sold in the second half of 2014, driven by the iPhone 6.

Kuo says Apple`s suppliers — which sell the company components like screens, lenses, and chips — are setting "ramp-up targets" at over 120 million devices, and they may be able to ramp up production to supply 150 million devices if demand is strong.

Apple is expected to launch three redesigned devices in fall 2017: two updates to the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with glass cases and wireless charging, and an all-new high-end model with a new kind of screen that promises lower power consumption and better picture quality.

All three models are expected to sell well.

According to Kuo:

  • "The OLED model may trigger replacement demand among high-end users given its completely all-new-design form factor and notably superior specs in comparison to the TFT-LCD models."
  • "The new 4.7-inch iPhone, featuring glass casing and wireless charging, looks well positioned to tap replacement demand at the entry level."

"In other words, ramp-up for [the second half of 2017] pull-in may exceed the previous peak for iPhone 6, and hit a historical high," Kuo wrote.

The `powder keg` supercycle

powder keg

The possibility that the upcoming iPhone could tap into a large base of people who are waiting to upgrade has been floated by several analysts before as a rationale for being bullish on Apple.

If Apple can deliver a device that is meaningfully different from the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, or iPhone 7, there could be an explosion of sales worldwide. Kuo is predicting three new meaningfully different iPhone models based on factory sources.

On Tuesday, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich reiterated that long Apple investors should be optimistic about the next iPhone cycle because Apple may not beat estimates for the next few quarters.

"The March and June quarters could have downside risk, but it might not matter if investors remain optimistic about 2018," Milunovich wrote. "Many investors are already looking to F18, where high retention rates and an aging installed base could drive significant upgrades."

SEE ALSO: Apple is testing more than 10 different prototypes of the iPhone 8

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NOW WATCH: Neil deGrasse Tyson reveals the biggest misconceptions people have about the universe

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Egyptian government warned citizens on Tuesday against taking part in surveys conducted by foreign media organizations, saying it was a threat to national security.
GENEVA (Reuters) - The formation of a new government by Yemen`s armed Houthi movement and its political allies will hinder peace efforts in the country, the U.N. special envoy to Yemen said on Tuesday.

nsa phone spying

The US surveillance state is poised to grow more powerful under a Trump administration.

Though President-elect Donald Trump still has nearly two months until he`s sworn in, his picks for Attorney General and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency are a sign that many surveillance reforms could be overturned or changed, such as the NSA`s collection of telephone metadata on all Americans — a program that was changed after it was exposed by Edward Snowden.

Trump recently appointed Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, and Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo for CIA Director. Both have advocated for the increased domestic spying that was implemented by former President George W. Bush after 9/11, according to Bloomberg.

"Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database," Pompeo wrote with coauthor David Rivkin, Jr. in a Wall Street Journal editorial in January. "Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed."

Among legal impediments Pompeo mentioned were Presidential Policy Directive 28, an order from President Obama concerning surveillance practices that put into words many policies that the intelligence community had already been doing, according to an analysis by Lawfare.

The bulk collection of telephone metadata by the NSA was just one of many revelations exposed by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The program forced American telephone companies to hand over metadata on all of their customers to the NSA, which included phone numbers and duration of calls, but not content. It was changed in late 2015 to keep bulk records with the companies, requiring a court order to look at specific records.

The Snowden leaks largely corroborated a 2006 story on the bulk collection program from USA Today, which stated that the NSA`s goal was "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation`s borders, according to an unnamed official. After that story broke, Sessions argued that it was not warrantless wiretapping.

American whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen through a camera viewfinder as he delivers remarks via video link from Moscow to attendees at a discussion regarding an International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers in Manhattan, New York September 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

"There are people out there that want to kill us, and I don`t think this action is nearly as troublesome as being made out here," he said in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May 2006.

Still, any attempts to revive the bulk metadata program would be fought against by privacy proponents, such as the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"Obviously we think that the 215 [bulk metadata] program was unconstitutional and illegal when it was in operation, and we`d fight tooth and nail any attempt to resurrect it," Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney for EFF, told Business Insider.

Cardozo also noted that another fight is brewing over Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which sunsets in Dec. 2017. Section 702`s "upstream" program allows the NSA to scan and copy nearly all Internet traffic flowing through the United States, allowing the data to be queried later. With Republicans now in control of the White House and Congress, its reauthorization seems likely.

Meanwhile, both Trump appointees have criticized increased use of encryption among technology companies, yet another change that emerged after Snowden revealed widespread spying on millions of users by technology giants such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft under the NSA`s Prism program.

Many of those companies turned on "encryption by default" in the years since, which protects their users from having their communications intercepted without needing to make any changes. The issue came to a head earlier this year when the FBI and Apple had a very public spat over the security of the iPhone 5C that belonged to the terrorist who carried out the San Bernardino shooting.

Apple CEO Tim Cook fought the FBI and the courts over their insistence that Apple create software that would help law enforcement agencies unlock the phone, which was encrypted with a PIN code. Cook, who called the FBI`s proposed workaround the "software equivalent of cancer," argued that it amounted to a "backdoor."

"Coming from a law enforcement background, I believe this is a more serious issue than Tim Cook understands," Sessions said in a Congressional hearing at the time. "In a criminal case, or could be a life and death terrorist case, accessing a phone means the case is over. Time and time again, that kind of information results in an immediate guilty plea, case over."

Sessions` comments also came while Congress was debating a bill that would force companies to implement backdoors around encryption security, which privacy advocates have long warned would eventually be found and exploited by criminal hackers, or stolen by a nation-state.

On the campaign trail, Trump called for a boycott of Apple "until such time as they give that information," according to CNN.

Jeff Sessions and Donald TrumpThe government eventually backed down from its fight with Apple in late March, after investigators said they were able to unlock the shooter`s phone with the "assistance of a third party." It never disclosed who that was or how it broke into the phone.

Supporters of Apple were somewhat vindicated in August after an unprecedented breach of hacking tools and exploits were stolen from the NSA — showing that even the world`s most secure intelligence agency can`t keep its own encryption backdoors a secret forever.

But for now, it`s all a waiting game as to what actually happens for surveillance in a Trump administration. As with many other areas of policy, there have been few substantive proposals for intelligence, foreign policy, or military strategy that have been offered by the President-elect.

"Trump`s moods change with the seasons. We saw Trump say that he`d welcome Snowden back with open arms and an apology, then we saw him say he`d execute Snowden," Cardozo said. "So who the hell knows what Trump`s going to do."

SEE ALSO: Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn reportedly had `forbidden` internet connection at the Pentagon

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NOW WATCH: This hidden iPhone feature will boost your reception

AT&T’s long awaited streaming TV service, DirecTV Now, finally arrives on Wednesday. If you can put aside the potentially harmful effects of it being favored on AT&T’s network, it looks like a competitive cable replacement for 20 million or so Americans who do not subscribe to cable or satellite TV today.

However, that’s the only group DirecTV Now is really targeting here. This chart from Statista hows why: Between DirecTV and its U-Verse platform, AT&T already has the largest pay-TV subscriber base in the US, with a little over 25 million in total.

This means AT&T has to walk a tightrope: It wants a big slice of the cord cutter pie, but it also doesn’t want to turn all of its existing subscribers into cord cutters right away. This seems to be why DirecTV Now isn’t priced as low as AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson initially promised; after a promotional period where you can get a 100+ channel bundle for 35 month, its standard rates aren’t dramatically lower than rivals like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, or even DirecTV itself.

pay tv subscribers chart

SEE ALSO: Wikipedia is asking for donations again — here’s how much cash it already has in the bank

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MINSK (Reuters) - Four-way talks on ending a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine finished without a breakthrough on Tuesday, with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier declaring that "lip service" statements were not enough to achieve lasting peace.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Violent protests erupted in Haiti on Tuesday as losing candidates rejected the preliminary results of an election that indicated banana exporter Jovenel Moise would be the next president.

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The share of time consumers are spending in-app is growing, according to new data from Opera Mediaworks.

The study notes that smartphone users are becoming increasingly engaged with the apps on their devices, and for longer periods of time, suggesting that loyalty toward users’ apps of choice is growing:

  • Time spent in apps is increasing. In Q3 2016, users spent around 37 minutes each day in the top 100 apps, up almost 21% since Q1 2016, when users spent an average of 30 minutes each day.
  • Session times are longer. Each session (or each time a user opens an app) lasts an average nine minutes, up 8% from the five-minute average session reported in Q1 2016.
  • Apps are being opened more often. To a lesser extent, the number of sessions is increasing, up from 3.6 sessions each day to just over four. This suggests that users are turning to their devices to access content more often. 

Increased attention to app engagement tactics like push notifications and in-app messaging could be behind the uptick in app loyalty. These tactics helped decrease the percentage of users only launching an app once fall from 31% in 2015 to 28% in 2016, according to Localytics. These engagement methods will likely see increased usage as both major operating systems are getting smarter about how to engage consumers without needlessly interrupting them. For example, Apple’s iOS 10 update brought added functionality to the lock screen, incentivizing users to engage with push notifications. 

This is encouraging news for mobile-app makers and content creators, who are vying for consumer attention in a crowded and noisy market.

Even if an app can stand out enough to prompt a consumer to download it from among a list of millions, it then faces the challenge of enticing him or her to use it enough times to recuperate development, maintenance, and marketing costs. To make matters worse, those marketing costs have hit record-high levels over the past year as discoverability has become more challenging.

And while consumers are spending more time in apps, most of that time is spent in a few favorites. Consumers spend almost three-quarters of their total smartphone app time in just their three favorite apps, according to comScore. 

But it`s not all doom and gloom: There are numerous tools at a publisher`s disposal to engage and re-engage consumers, and there are new products and solutions coming to market that can help alleviate some of the issues around this app engagement crisis.

Jessica Smith, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider`s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on app engagement that explores the current state of the app market, the issues around engaging consumers, and the tools at a publisher`s disposal. It also identifies best practices for the implementation of some app engagement tools, and presents the pitfalls that some publishers fall into in this pursuit. 

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The app market today is challenging and volatile. It`s difficult to stand out, and most apps have to be offered for free in order to entice consumers who have too much supply to choose from. This puts greater emphasis on engaging consumers after they`ve downloaded an app in order to recoup costs. 
  • Consumers are more difficult to engage today, as most have dozens of apps installed on their devices yet spend most of their time in just a select handful of favorites. 
  • There are numerous solutions at hand for mobile app publishers and content creators seeking to engage consumers. Push notifications, in-app messaging, and app message centers with badges are three tools publishers can use to engage consumers. 
  • While many publishers mistakenly rely solely on push notifications for app engagements, this is a poor practice because many consumers don`t allow push notifications and those that do can easily be overwhelmed when they receive too many. 
  • The best solution often includes leveraging two or three of these tools to engage consumers with the right message at the right time. The technology in this market has grown increasingly sophisticated, and publishers that don`t diversify their approach run the risk of annoying their consumers to the point of abandonment. 
  • There are emerging engagement technologies that will change the current app engagement norms and present new ways for app publishers to communicate with users. The mobile ecosystem is changing quickly as technology improves and consumers become more comfortable conducting more activities on mobile devices.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the major challenges in today`s app market and explains why employing good app engagement practices is more important than ever before.
  • Presents the major app engagement tools currently available.
  • Examines the pros and cons of each app engagement tool while outlining some pitfalls that publishers encounter in implementing them. 
  • Prescribes best practices for adopting various app engagement tools or strategies. 
  • Assesses how the market will likely change over the next five years as emerging technologies change both consumer behavior with mobile devices and introduce new tools with which to engage consumers. 

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you`ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. » Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. » Purchase & Download Now

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Mark Zuckerberg question mark

Two lengthy posts by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about fake news and the U.S. presidential election temporarily vanished from Zuckerberg`s Facebook page on Tuesday before reappearing later in the day.

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that both posts were deleted "by mistake" and that Zuckerberg "stands by the words in his posts."

As first noticed by The Verge, one of the missing posts was a November 12 post by Zuckerberg that included his reaction to the U.S. presidential election and Facebook`s role in spreading hoax stories that some observers believe may have helped President Elect Donald Trump win the election.

The second post on November 19 outlined steps the social network is taking to battle the distribution of "misinformation," which many have accused it of handling with negligence in the months leading up to the election.

Both posts are now visible again on Facebook.

“These posts were removed by mistake," a Facebook spokesperson said. "This was caused by an error in one of our systems and the posts have now been restored. Mark`s account was not compromised, and he stands behind the words in his posts.”

It`s worth noting that Facebook has suffered from some major bugs recently, including one earlier this month that briefly affected Facebook user profiles, including Zuckerberg`s, and incorrectly stated that the users were dead. 

SEE ALSO: It took only 36 hours for these students to solve Facebook`s fake-news problem

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NOW WATCH: A Facebook bug was telling people they died

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Global goals to end poverty and aid to the developing world are at risk of severe setback under U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, whose campaign rhetoric was ominous and whose plans are vague, experts said on Tuesday.
LA UNION, Colombia/ CHAPECO, Brazil (Reuters) - A charter plane carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense to the biggest game in its history crashed in the Colombian mountains after an electrical fault, killing 75 people on board, authorities said on Tuesday.

I`ve owned the fourth-generation Apple TV for over a year now. It`s good, but in my opinion, it`s not better than the older versions of the Apple TV.

apple tv old new

This shouldn`t be the case. The new Apple TV is faster and snappier, has an App Store, and has Siri so you can search and navigate using only your voice, if that`s your thing. It even has a touch-sensitive trackpad on the remote (touch gestures make everything better, right?). It can even do gaming!

Unfortunately, these features sound way better on paper than they are in practice. Let me go through each of them one by one, based on my experience:

  • The new Apple TV is indeed faster and snappier. This is probably the only thing I really like about it.
  • The App Store is fine, but like the iOS App Store, it feels outdated. It`s relatively intuitive, but I rarely go looking for new apps and games — I think that`s because people don`t use TVs the way they use phones or tablets. Unless there are new apps that happen to have programming I wouldn`t have been able to watch otherwise, which is never the case, I don`t really have a reason to visit the App Store.
  • Games on the Apple TV are basic at best, and not a great experience. These feel mostly like phone games ported to the TV, nothing near console quality (like 40+ million other people, I own a PlayStation 4 for gaming; many others own Xbox and Nintendo consoles, so the Apple TV isn`t really fulfilling any kind of gaming need, unless you really want to play "Angry Birds" on the big screen. But I can`t think of anyone who would want that.)
  • Siri is fine, but not great. It`s useful on occasion — you can ask for any movie or TV show, regardless of what you`re looking at, and get results from all the various apps you have downloaded. My favorite feature is the ability to ask, "What did s/he just say?" and have Siri automatically play back the last 15 seconds, but with added subtitles. That`s clever. Everything else is par for the course. Siri takes a second or two to activate, then a second or two to hear you, and then it responds. Often times, it misunderstands me. It`s far from natural-feeling, unlike the Amazon Echo in my home. 
  • The trackpad is downright awful. There are zero redeeming qualities about the Apple TV`s glass touchpad, which, Apple admits, is not the same kind of tactile, satisfying glass used for its iPhone displays. It`s hypersensitive and difficult to control — even though you can adjust the sensitivity settings, and mine are set to the lowest setting, and it`s still a bad experience. Whether it`s typing or navigating, the touchpad is just awful. You can tap or swipe — I recommend tapping, because swiping is so laughably inaccurate. I find it appalling that this made it through Apple`s design house. Every time someone accidentally touches the remote — which happens all the time since the remote is small and slick and rolls around the couch quite easily — it activates, and usually starts playing content I don`t want it to play. It`s a major step backwards from the click controls of the previous Apple TV remote (that metallic beauty at the top of the page).

The fourth-generation Apple TV should be so much better than it is, which is inaccurate and generally unpleasant. It doesn`t help that the set-top box itself is bigger than past models for no apparent reason (Siri can`t take up that much space, can it?), and that the remote control is not intuitive, with excessive, non-intuitive controls. (Did you know you can make the Apple TV go to sleep by pressing and holding that TV button? I did not, until someone who actually helped develop the Apple TV told me over the phone.)

In general, I can`t help but feel like this is where Apple products are heading.

In the case of the Apple TV, it feels like newness is prioritized over usefulness and intuitiveness. But "new," in the Apple TV, only means slight improvements, with few meaningful innovations. You can draw parallels to Apple`s other recent products:

Apple AirPods are displayed during a media event in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

  • The iPhone 7 is a modest update from the iPhone 6s, which is a modest update from the iPhone 6. The differences between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6? It`s water-resistant, its cameras are slightly better, and it shows a slightly wider color gamut. As someone who upgraded from an iPhone 6s to an iPhone 7, I hardly notice any differences at all, experience-wise. One exception: I did notice the lack of a headphone jack when I lost my Lightning EarPods last weekend while going through security at the airport, and had no viable replacement for my 6-hour flight.
  • The Apple Watch Series 2 is also water-resistant, and adds GPS. Otherwise, it`s by-and-large the same old Watch. It does not fix any of the problems of the first-generation model, like battery life, or the relatively useless digital crown, or its dependence on the iPhone.
  • AirPods — Apple`s yet-to-be-released wireless earbuds — are hardly better than the company`s wired pair, which are significantly cheaper (30 vs. 160) and more useful. Both AirPods and EarPods let you listen to music and answer phone calls, but AirPods can`t play or pause your music, or change the volume, without using Siri, which is just plain awkward to do in public. The design also looks lazy, like they just cut the cords off from the EarPods and called it a day.
  • The iPad Pro is basically a bigger, faster iPad. The only ways in which it`s more useful than other iPads involve optional accessories you`d need to buy: the 99 Apple Pencil, and the Smart Keyboard, another add-on that costs anywhere between 150 and 170 (you`re better off with Logitech`s version, in my opinion, which is cheaper and has better features). But the tablet itself hasn`t changed much, if at all.
  • The new MacBook Pro is faster and thinner than ever, and the new Touch Bar can do some nifty tricks, but it`s not so useful — especially for professionals, its intended audience — as to justify its astronomical price. We asked a video editor if they liked the Touch Bar, and he said it wouldn`t change how he works. So while the Touch Bar looks cool, its use cases are niche at best. Oh, and you`ll need to shell out extra for Apple`s various dongles if you want to connect your external devices, like your camera. Oh, and its battery life isn`t quite what Apple advertised.

Apple MacBook Pro

If you`re noticing a trend here, it`s that Apple`s newest products do offer some basic improvements, but are still loaded down with their own respective issues — again, it feels like newness is given priority over usefulness. For every positive in these new products, there`s at least one negative. As someone who`s used and owned Apple products all my life, it`s a worrying trend: It feels like Apple`s approach to products is altering course, moving away from minimalism and perfectionism, and moving towards cost-effectiveness and novelty. The company`s latest products are good, not great.

Perhaps Jony Ive, Apple`s design chief, really is making his gradual exit from Apple, after 25 years of working there. Or perhaps the current leadership, led by CEO Tim Cook, favors the company`s bottom line over its product designs, as a means to appease shareholders. Regardless, don`t expect a mea culpa from Apple; I do believe the company is listening to fans and users, and is making concerted efforts to give people what they want, but Apple would never admit its products are anything less than perfect. Let`s just hope Apple is listening, that next year`s products fix some of the biggest issues, and that the company`s more exciting plans (VR, AR, cars) come to fruition. Because Apple, and many of its products, used to be great. But right now, they`re all just good.

SEE ALSO: Get ready for the super cycle — there could be `unprecedented` demand for the iPhone 8

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NOW WATCH: These crucial tips will make your iPhone battery last longer

Eric Schmidt

Google has now banned its infamous brain teaser interview questions. And that`s probably a good thing, because if Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt had been asked them when he interviewed all those years ago, he might have been dinged some points for struggling to come up with the answer.

Schmidt was speaking at an usual conference called "Summit at Sea," in which attendees cruise together for three days on a ship in international waters, reports Quartz`s Olivia Goldhill. And one of the questions Schmidt was asked was this:

You’re the captain of a pirate ship and you find a chest of gold. Your crew gets to vote on how the gold is divided up. If fewer than half of the pirates agree with you, you die. How do you recommend apportioning the gold in such a way that you get a good share of the booty but still survive.

Schmidt hemmed and hawed, asked for the question to be repeated, asked if he could ask clarifying questions and then came up with this answer:

“Let’s do the math…if half die. No, if I die… No, if they don’t like me, I die. This is, like, a really bad question. ... It seems to me that if more than half are happy, I survive. I propose, that we give 49% of the pirates stock in internet companies, and 51% get the gold."

Despite the kvetching and complaining about the question, he actually did come up with the "correct" answer, which is to give the pirates 51% of the gold and keep the other 49% for himself.

However, we`d argue that giving away 51% is still pretty risky depending on how many people in the crew there are. If a large crowd is effectively sharing half the gold while the captain keeps half for himself, that`s not exactly booty income equality and can lead to resentment. The crew may then be tempted to elect a captain that promises to make the boat great again.

So it says something about Schmidt`s psyche that he wanted to double down and secure his life by giving the pirates stock in internet companies, too. In the Valley, it seems anyone who has access to gold has access to stock in internet companies. The life-saving questions really is: which company? Google stock? Probably save your life. Yahoo? Get the plank. 

By the way, here are some other other brain teaser interview questions Google used to ask:

  • How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
  • How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?
  • Explain the significance of "dead beef"

Click here for the answers, explanations and more banned interview questions.

SEE ALSO: Google`s nit-picky interview process is a huge turnoff for some experienced coders

SEE ALSO: Programmers are having a huge discussion about the unethical and illegal things they’ve been asked to do

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NOW WATCH: We went inside an Amazon warehouse on Cyber Monday

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt`s parliament overwhelmingly endorsed a law regulating non-governmental organizations on Tuesday that human rights groups and activists say effectively bans their work and makes it harder for charities to operate.
MINSK (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Tuesday that Europe must stand firm on sanctions against Russia because lifting them would undermine efforts to end the violence in eastern Ukraine.

Nintendo is fiercely protective of its properties. Super Mario, Donkey Kong, and Link are characters you`ll find almost exclusively in products made by Nintendo.

Super Mario

That`s why it`s such a big deal that Nintendo is partnering with Universal Studios to create Nintendo-themed game worlds in several Universal Studios theme parks around the world.

The deal`s been in the works for some time, but the two companies issued an update on Tuesday morning: Nintendo attractions will open at Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood across the next several years. The attractions "will be expansive, immersive and interactive," according to the release. "They’ll be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants." 

Sounds like the real-life version of the Wii U game "NintendoLand!"

NintendoLand

You can spy some teases of what the attractions might look like in the background of a video released on Tuesday morning:

Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo

Here`s another:

Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo

Work on the attractions is "well underway," and they`re promised to have "something for everyone" (gamers and non-gamers alike). In the video, it`s clear that a "Super Mario Bros." area will be a main attraction.

Power-up mushrooms and green turtle shells are clearly seen in the background of several shots:

Mark Woodbury, Universal

Universal`s promising more specifics on the first park`s Nintendo-themed attraction sooner than later, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks.

The full video — with a few more looks at the project alongside breathless hype from Universal and Nintendo executives — is right here, should you be so inclined:

SEE ALSO: Nintendo`s huge new deal with Universal shows just how far it`ll go to turn the ship around

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NOW WATCH: Unboxing the Nintendo NES Classic Edition everyone`s going crazy for

There has been a lot of talk of deglobalization and potential trade wars in the aftermath of Donald Trump`s election as US President.

The president-elect has accused China of manipulating its currency, said he will withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and that he`ll bring back jobs to the US

With that in mind, Deutsche Bank economists Zhiwei Zhang and Li Zeng took a look at how a trade war (think tariffs and quotas) between the US and China might play out. In a note published November 28, the duo ranked the industries by the ratio between domestic production and domestic demand. 

The chart below shows the extent to which domestic demand could be met by domestic production, assuming US made goods weren`t exported. In other words, if there was demand for 100 leather belts in the US in 2015, and the US produced 80 leather belts that year, the ratio would be 80%. 

The lower the ratio in the chart below, "the stronger is the indication that a sector was hurt badly by imports." 

Screen Shot 2016 11 29 at 10.17.13 AM

The most extreme example here is "textile, apparel and leather products," where domestic production in 2015 only met a 36.6% of domestic demand. That is down sharply from 1997, when the percentage was more than 60%. 

There is a similar story in the "computer and electronics" industry, though US production there is much  higher, meeting 60.5% of domestic demand. 

At the other end of the chart, US domestic production of goods like "paper products," "food, beverage & tobacco," "chemicals" and "fabricated metal products" all come in at above 90% of domestic demand. In addition, for many of these industries, the ratios really haven`t changed.

"This suggests that these industries are not being hurt so badly by imports," the note said. 

Here`s Deutsche Bank on the findings:

"Among industries with low domestic production to demand ratios in 2015, there seem to be three groups: (i) Those whose situations had worsened over time, including “computer and electronics”, “electrical equipments and parts” and “furniture”. For instance, in 1997, the US’s domestic production of “computer and electronics” could meet 92 percent of its domestic demand. It dropped to 72 percent in 2006, and was only 61 in 2015. (ii) Those where most “damages” by imports seemed to have taken place prior to 2006. This includes “textile, apparel and products” and “automobiles, trailers and parts”. (iii) The last group is “oil and gas extraction” and “miscellaneous manufacturing”. Although their domestic production to demand ratios were low in 2015, they had been stable or even improved compared with early periods."

Zhang and Zeng focuses in on the first and second group, or those industries where the situation has worsened over time or where the damage was done prior to 2006. They looked at how a 10% reduction in the trade deficit in each sector would impact gross-domestic product, and found that the industries that deliver growth would not necessarily bring back jobs to the US, and vice versa. Screen Shot 2016 11 29 at 11.14.02 AM

Focusing on "computers & electronics" would add 18 billion to US GDP, and add a lot of jobs too. But focusing on "oil and gas extraction," while adding a lot in US GDP, would have less of an impact on the labor market than focusing on the "textiles, apparel & leather good" industry. 

The report said: 

"The analysis suggests that the US should probably have different top priorities in a trade war, depending on whether it wants growth or jobs most. If the US wants the biggest boost to growth, industries with high value-added should be its top priorities, such as “computer and electronics” and “automobiles, trailers and parts”. Figure 6 shows that a 10 percent deficit reduction in “computer and electronics” would raise the US’s domestic value-added by some USD18 billion. On the other hand, if what the US wants most is to “bring jobs back”, especially to lower income areas, it should place its top priority on “textile, apparel and leather products”. While this sector only ranks 4th in terms of additional domestic value-added, the extra labor compensation it would bring is the second highest. Considering the low labor cost in this industry, it probably means most job increase among all industries."

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NOW WATCH: Richard Branson: Entrepreneurs need to fill the gap where government is lacking

 

Beppu City, Japan is already known for their hot spring spas. In a new video, its mayor has declared that, if the video receives one million views, they will build a spa-amusement park, or a `Spamusement` park. That video just passed two million, so start saving up your vacation time.

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honeycomb 9

Many upscale apartment complexes include pools that residents can use. But a new residential building in the Bahamas is even more luxurious.

Set to be completed by 2017, the complex features apartment units that each have a built-in private pool on their balconies.

Bjarke Ingels Group, the architecture firm that designed the building, appropriately dubbed it the "Honeycomb." The units, which range from 3,000 to 8,000 square feet, start at 5 million.

Check them out below.

SEE ALSO: The world`s tallest modular apartment building just opened in New York City — take a look inside

Located in the Albany luxury resort community in Nassau, Bahamas, the Honeycomb building will be eight stories tall.



Construction started in 2014, and the building is nearly complete. Joining three other luxury residences planned in the area, the Honeycomb will overlook a yacht marina.



Designing glass-fronted balconies that could support the weight of pool water was no small feat, says William R. O`Donnell, the managing principal at DesSimone Consulting Engineers, which helped create the balconies` structure.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
LA UNION, Colombia/ CHAPECO, Brazil (Reuters) - A charter plane carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense to the biggest game in its history crashed in the Colombian mountains after an electrical fault, killing 75 people on board, authorities said on Tuesday.
MOSUL/BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - Fighting between Iraqi troops and Islamic State militants has cut water supplies across a large part of Mosul, where poorer families are already struggling to feed themselves, and a local official said the increasingly encircled city was in crisis.
PARIS (Reuters) - On paper, French presidential favorite Francois Fillon`s free-market plans to cut business taxes, relax labor laws and shrink the public sector should give corporate France a shot in the arm and boost economic growth.
HAVANA (Reuters) - Leaders of Cuba`s leftist allies and other developing countries arrive in Havana on Tuesday for a mass rally commemorating Fidel Castro, the rebel who seized power in a 1959 revolution and ruled the island in the face of U.S. opposition for half a century.

mri machineCHICAGO — The MRI technology we use to get a clearer picture of the inside of our bodies relies on a key resource that keeps the magnets inside the machines extremely cool — 452 degrees Fahrenheit cold, to be exact

To keep things that chilly, the machines use liquid helium, a finite resource.

To counter that, GE is developing a new magnetic technology that only needs about 1% of the liquid helium traditional MRI machines need. Called "Freelium," the technology uses helium gas that gets converted to roughly 20 liters of liquid helium, much less than the 2,000 or so liters of liquid helium traditional MRIs run on. 

"What we do with the technology is we effectively have a magnet assembly that has the exact same performance characteristics as our current 1.5T platform," Aaron Flammang, a product manager for GE Healthcare MR, told Business Insider at the at the Radiological Society of North America`s annual conference.

Here`s how it works: Helium gas is inserted into the system. That gas gets compressed until it turns into about 20 liters` worth of helium — much less than the thousands needed in traditional machines. 

"What you end up with is a completely contained system," he said. The technology isn`t yet available for commercial use. 

The system also has the added benefit of not needing a quench pipe, or a way for the liquid helium to escape in the event of an emergency. 

IMG_7687

Developing more sustainable technologies has a few benefits. For one, the cost of helium varies by country, and is one of the biggest expenses to maintaining an MRI machine. Ideally, it could then be used in locations that otherwise couldn`t have access to MRI machines because helium access or costs are prohibitive.

GE is not alone in pushing for more sustainable radiology technologies. A review published earlier this year in the World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development found that "adoption of sustainable diagnostic radiology by many countries in Europe and the UK helps to provide imaging services efficiently and effectively, with simultaneous preservation of the natural resources, patient health and environment much better than before." 

SEE ALSO: 5 innovations in radiology that could impact everything from the Zika virus to dermatology

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Estimated Global Robot Shipments

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The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, uses a robot called the Train Inspection Monorail (TIM) for inspection and system monitoring, according to The Verge.

While advanced robotics and in some cases, drones, are frequently used to inspect and monitor industrial equipment and other machinery, this is a novel usage that points to opportunities for robotics in advanced scientific applications.

TIM navigates through the 17 miles of the particle collider on a monorail track attached to the ceiling. The monorail was initially installed in the Large Electron-Positron Collider, a predecessor to the Large Hadron Collider, to carry workers and equipment. However, it was moved when the earlier collider shut down operations in 2001.

This represents an intriguing use case for robots that could grow in the future.

  • TIM could indicate that there is room for IoT applications more broadly in science to grow moving forward. Inspecting and maintaining large industrial equipment is already a prominent usage of advanced robotics, and if this robotic solution proves to be successful such devices could see expanded applications at other large scientific installation sites. That could push IoT further into science, an area that has not to this point seen as high a rate of adoption of IoT solutions as the industrial sector, for example.
  • But in order to do that, these solutions will have to overcome hurdles related to cost and market size. TIM has a relatively limited and highly specialized use case, which could hold back robotics manufacturers from actively looking to add a robot of this sort to its offerings. Further, a robot of this size naturally is highly expensive to build and maintain; combined with its limited and specialized use case, large-scale adoption could be challenging.

Traditionally, robots have been used primarily in manufacturing. But other industries including healthcare, shipping and logistics, food services, retail, hospitality, and more are starting to also use robots. For example, hospitals are using robots to assist in surgery, retail stores are testing robots to take inventory, and warehouses are using robots help sort packages.

John Greenough, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider`s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on enterprise robotics that examines the rising use of robots across many industries. It examines top use cases, market leaders, growth drivers, potential for workforce automation, the top barriers, and includes market forecasts on shipments and investment in robots between 2015-2021. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • We expect enterprise robotic shipments to nearly triple between 2015-2021.
  • Manufacturing will continue to be the top adopter of robots. A recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey found 44% of US manufacturers and 66% of German manufacturers plan to install autonomous robots and assistance systems within the next five years.
  • Rising wages around the world is just one of the key reasons enterprises are beginning to leverage robotics.
  • Robots have the potential to displace jobs, meaning that while they might take some more labor intensive jobs they have the potential to create new jobs for working on robots.

In full, the report:

  • Forecasts enterprise robotic shipments
  • Identifies market leaders
  • Discusses economic conditions leading to the rise of robots
  • Examines the advantages of using robots
  • Identifies five of the top barriers preventing robot adoption

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you`ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the fast-moving world of robotics.

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Evidence of Gruesome 9,500-Year-Old Funerary Rites Found in Brazil

Evidence of complex and gruesome funeral rites found in the Lapa do Santo cave in Brazil have shocked researchers yet again. The researchers have discovered evidence of the mutilation of corpses, including the removal of flesh, muscles, and teeth, exposure to fire, and possible cannibalism. This is added to a previous discovery of a decapitated skull found at the site last year.

According to the news agent Seeker, the 9,500-year-old remains are the oldest examples of complex funeral rituals in the area. "This finding testifies that a great cultural diversity was already present in South America already 10,000 years ago," one of the lead researchers, André Strauss, told Discovery News.

A skull showing burn marks and intentional removal of teeth.

A skull showing burn marks and intentional removal of teeth. (Mauricio de Paiva)

Although Lapa do Santo was a burial ground for bodies beginning about 10,000 and 10,600 years ago, the more complex rites didn’t begin until between 9,400 and 9,600 years ago. The manipulation of the deceased’s bones seemed to have faded from popularity by between 8,200-8,600 years ago.

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria and its allies aim to drive rebels from Aleppo before Donald Trump takes office as U.S. President, a senior official in the pro-Damascus military alliance said, as pro-government forces surged to their biggest victories in the city for years.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey has not yet "closed the book" on the EU after the European Parliament recommended freezing accession talks last week, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, but added that Ankara always has other options.

Kenya child poverty

One of the most popular solutions to poverty proposed over the last year has been a pretty straightforward one: Just pay people enough so they`re not poor anymore.

Advocates for these direct cash transfers, as they`re known, point to empirical evidence that recipients` quality of life goes up when they get more money. More often than not, people don`t spend it on booze as much as things like home repair or education.

If the world`s billionaires stepped in to provide money, the latest evidence suggests, direct cash transfers could work on a global scale.

A report issued earlier this year by the Brookings Institution finds the cost of closing the global poverty gap would be about 80 billion, according to data released by the World Bank. That`s how much it would cost to give each of the world`s 767 million poor enough money to lift them above the poverty line of 1.90 a day.

Meanwhile, the latest OECD data reveals the 35 member states collectively spent 131.6 billion in foreign aid in 2015 — meaning the cost of lifting people from poverty, at least in theory, costs about 60% of what the world`s biggest donors spend annually to address similar issues.

Or as the Economist recently put it, "The world can afford to end poverty."

The authors of the Brookings report explain that foreign aid includes a lot more than putting cash in people`s pockets: The amount that goes toward social payments and their administration is only about 2% of the total aid. Things like vaccines, plumbing, and road-building — "physical infrastructure and strengthening institutions" — make up the remaining 98%.

"If the elimination of extreme poverty is to be achieved through targeted transfers, it depends on sources other than foreign aid," the authors write. Those sources are the privately wealthy. 

Researchers see cash transfers as a complementary approach to investments in larger forms of aid. More of the world`s billionaires could follow in the footsteps of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to give away large portions of their wealth in the pursuit of curing the world`s ills.

In their analysis, the researchers identified countries that have at least one billionaire. Then they assumed that billionaire agreed to give away half of his or her total wealth. 

In most cases, poverty was eliminated or substantially reduced. In special cases where the researchers imagine a group of billionaires pooling their donations, instead of just one single donor, even larger countries see poverty disappear. These include countries like China (home to 213 billionaires), India (90), and Indonesia (23).

Cash transfers aren`t the whole solution to ending poverty, the researchers concede. But neither is foreign aid. Private wealth more than covers the cost of getting people over the poverty line, even taking into account the costs of getting that money to people and what impacts there`d be on prices relative to the dollar.

NGOs like GiveDirectly have shown in small-scale transfer trials that poor people fare better when they have more income. If billionaires took a similar approach to their giving, the benefits could be equally profound — only orders of magnitude greater.

SEE ALSO: Here`s more evidence that giving people unconditional free money actually works

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NOW WATCH: Billionaires Sean Parker and George Soros have given millions to support marijuana legalization

Instant Games on Messenger

Classic games like "Pac-Man," "Space Invaders," and "Galaga" are coming to Facebook.

On Tuesday, the social network announced Instant Games, its most aggressive push into the world of gaming since "FarmVille" peaked in popularity on Facebook years ago. 

Game makers are now able to make lightweight, HTML5 versions of their titles that are playable within Messenger and Facebook`s News Feed. Facebook has already signed on a handful of prominent game studios to participate in the closed beta, including Konami and Zynga`s "Words with Friends."

Opening the floodgates to more games is partly a response to the high engagement Facebook saw with basketball and soccer games it`s already tested in the Messenger app, according to the company`s director of games partnerships, Leo Olebe. 

"People have put games inside of messaging platforms before," he said in a recent interview with Business Insider. "Facebook has not. And it’s really exciting for us to do it in a way that can engage people on the Messenger platform."

A new gaming tab in Messenger will let people invite their friends to compete in score-based games and through leaderboards. A dedicated Instant Games tab will also exist on Facebook`s website, although the company expects people to discover games mainly through recommendations from their friends in the News Feed.

Instant Games are available in 30 countries and work in Facebook`s iPhone and Android apps. The same games that are playable in Messenger are playable in the News Feed and the main Facebook app.

Facebook`s `awakening` to games

Screen Shot 2016 11 29 at 11.43.14 AM

Facebook hasn`t been thought of as a destination for gaming in a long time. Instant Games represents "a resurgence and an awakening to the opportunity games" for the company, according to Olebe.

Facebook has made two recent pushes into becoming a destination for gamers that have yet to show significant results. One of those pushes came in June when Facebook challenged Amazon`s Twitch by letting people live stream gameplay from Blizzard titles like "Hearthstone" and "Overwatch."

Olebe wouldn`t say how many people have streamed games on Facebook or the total number of hours streamed, and the company hasn`t partnered with other game makers beyond Blizzard. 1.7 million people broadcasted game streams every month on Twitch last year.

Facebook is also attempting to take on Valve`s Steam with its own storefront for Windows PCs called Gameroom. Olebe announced Gameroom earlier this month. He declined to share any early usage numbers but said that developers are excited about selling their games through the platform.

Instant Games   Launch Titles

For now, gaming represents only 15% of the time spent on Facebook`s website, Olebe said. And while Instant Games aren`t able to monetize with in-app purchases yet, they could one day contribute to the 2.5 billion business that games reaped on Facebook in 2015.

Facebook has largely missed the transition of causal gaming from desktop PCs to mobile phones in recent years, but it hopes to regain lost ground with Instant Games.

"The total number of people in the world who now identify themselves as gamers has grown exponentially," Olebe said. "We’re totally hip to that idea and we want to make it as easy as possible to engage with the games that they love."

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NOW WATCH: This is how you`re compromising your identity on Facebook

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch parliament voted on Tuesday to ban face veils in some public places, a law the government said was essential for security but which opponents said pandered to anti-Muslim sentiment.
LA UNION, Colombia/ CHAPECO, Brazil (Reuters) - A charter plane carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense to the biggest game in its history crashed in the Colombian mountains after an electrical fault, killing 75 people on board, authorities said on Tuesday.

Mr Robot

Over the weekend, San Francisco`s bus and trolley system, called Muni by locals, got hacked with ransomware

Someone got into Muni`s computer system and threatened to lock its administrators out until they paid 100 bitcoin, or about 73,000.

Muni had to make all rides free on Saturday, although most systems are now back in working order. 

But in a stroke of irony, it turns out the person who hacked Muni ended up getting hacked himself, Brian Krebs reported on Tuesday morning. 

The ransom note had an email address ([email protected]) for Muni administrators to contact in order to arrange the payment. A security researcher was able to get access to that email inbox by guessing the answer to the hacker`s secret question, and leaked the inbox to Krebs. 

The stolen emails seen by Krebs even show the hacker had pulled off successful ransom heists before, at one point extorting about 45,000 from a U.S.-based manufacturing firm.

Other bitcoin wallets in the emails suggest the hacker had collected at least 140,000. The hacker had tried to extort several manufacturing and construction firms in the United States. 

The number could be higher because the hacker used several email addresses, some of which were not accessible. Krebs suggests the hacker may be from Iran.

Ransomware can be scary. Muni computer screens read “You are Hacked. ALL Data Encrypted,” and the hacker is threatening to release 30 gigabytes of internal Muni data.

If you`re worried about ransomware, you should make sure your systems are regularly backed up, and your backups are not on the same network as the systems they`re backing up. Here are some additional FBI recommendations about how to best deal with ransomware

The entire Krebs report is fantastic and worth a read as one of the best looks into this shadowy corner of the internet available today.

SEE ALSO: San Francisco made its public transit free for a day after it was hacked

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We sleep much differently than our ancestors — here`s why

Volunteers distribute food and drinks to migrants who arrived at Malmo train station in Sweden in this September 10, 2015 file photo.  REUTERS/Ola Torkelsson/TT News Agency/Files

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are officially over, but a newer, lesser known post-Thanksgiving tradition is ramping up. Today is Giving Tuesday, a 24-hour period devoted to charitable giving following the frenzy of holiday shopping.

A team at the 92nd Street Y, a New York City cultural center, came up with the idea and launched the first Giving Tuesday in 2012. Using the hashtag #GivingTuesday, the effort harnesses social media to encourage people to give money, time, or in-kind donations to charities of their choosing. 

Charitable donations are already on the rise following Trump’s election victory, with progressive organizations reporting a considerable uptick in giving. The ACLU announced it received 7.2 million in the five days after the election. Planned parenthood got almost 80,000 donations in the week after the election, and investigative journalism organization ProPublica saw a surge of support after John Oliver mentioned its work on his HBO show.

Election aside, the holiday season is always a popular time to support the causes you believe in. Here are a selection of vetted charities to donate to today, or any time of the year.

 

SEE ALSO: Basic income experts say Trump could be the radical change America needs

Support grassroots environmental activism: 350.org

350.org seeks to build a global climate movement that holds leaders accountable for following through on aggressive climate change mitigation efforts. The organization’s name refers to the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, in parts per million. The planet is currently at 400 parts per million. 



Fight one of the world’s most deadly diseases: Against Malaria Foundation

The #1 recommended charity from giving guide GiveWell, the AMF provides funding for the production and distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which can protect people in developing countries from malaria.

According to GiveWell, the charity offers strong evidence of the success and cost-effectiveness of its methods and approach, and stands out for its commitment to transparency and self-evaluation. The website estimates the cost pf purchasing and distributing one of AMF’s nets at just 4.68, so even a small donation can make a big difference.



Help those impacted by the refugee crisis: American Refugee Committee

The ARC bases their work on what refugees in communities around the world tell the group they need. Their work spans many areas, including emergency response services, helping refugees find shelter, providing healthcare, delivering clean water in camps, and conducting formal and informal education programs.

The organization has been around since 1979, and currently has programs in 11 countries. Charitable giving guide Charity Navigator gives the ARC the highest rating (95.47 out of 100) of all the groups currently working in Syria.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The arrival hall is empty at the Sharm el-Sheikh Airport in south Sinai, Egypt, Monday. Airbus executives say they are confident in the safety of the A321 that crashed Oct. 31 in Egypt`s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. Photo: AP

The arrival hall is empty at the Sharm el-Sheikh Airport in south Sinai, Egypt, after the A321 that crashed on Oct. 31 in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. Photo: AP

The United Nations World Tourism Organization and the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) called on the United Kingdom to lift the ban on UK-based airlines flying to Sharm El-Sheikh.

In a letter sent to British Prime Minister Theresa May, David Scowsill, the President and CEO of the WTTC, and Taleb Rifai, the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, urged the UK to lift the ban that has been in place since a Russian passenger airline crashed in Egypt’s Sinai in 2015.

“Travel and tourism is is vital to Egypt’s economy and social peace, contributing 11% of the country’s GDP and 2.6 million in jobs in 2015,” read the letter according to a statement on the UNWTO’s website.

“The reduction of visitors has created huge employment losses.  The country’s biggest concern is how the lack of employment opportunities, especially for young men and women, has instilled a desperate disposition and thus vulnerability to radicalisation or to fleeing on a refugee boat.”

Scowsill and Rifai also said that the impact of the UK’s ban has been devastating.

“It is devastating to see the impact the current UK travel advisory has on Egypt and on the young workforce in particular,” wrote Scowsill and Rifai.

We call on the UK government to review the advisory and allow commercial aircraft to fly to Sharm el Sheikh and thereby help restore the country’s Travel & Tourism sector’s GDP and employment provision.”

In a press release, the UNWTO added that Egyptian authorities have taken significant steps to increase the level of security in the airport and around Egypt.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, Egypt’s tourism revenues fell by 15 percent in 2015 and the number of incoming tourists declined by 6 percent. Egypt has been tirelessly working to restore flights to the country since the October 2015 plane crash.

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany takes over the presidency of the G20 leading economies on Thursday, a platform Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to use to safeguard multilateral cooperation under threat following Donald Trump`s U.S. election victory.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium is about to get smaller and the Netherlands bigger.

exp_ebay_087

If the footage of this year`s Black Friday chaos is anything to go by, shopping for gifts might be the most stressful thing about Christmas. Now, we have scientific evidence to support this.

Ebay has teamed up with US tech firm Lightwave to create the world`s first "emotionally-powered store" in London, which uses facial coding technology to decide the Christmas presents you should buy for your loved ones.

According to Ebay, which used the same technology to study how the brain works while we shop for gifts, it can take just half an hour of online browsing to lose motivation.

To resolve this issue, the store — which launched on Tuesday December 1 and will run for two days — contains interactive screens which show customers range of gift ideas in a short space of time, at the same time measuring facial expressions and how long individuals spend looking at each gift to measure their emotional response.

Here`s how it works.

Ebay has installed cubicles with interactive screens in its new Oxford Circus store. Customers can use these "biometric pods" to find out which gifts will be the most emotionally satisfying to give.



To use the service, customers should "go in with an open mind, and concentrate on the person they`re shopping for," Tanya Lawler, a Vice President at Ebay, told Business Insider. I thought about my mum and dad, who tend to buy themselves the things they need, so aren`t the easiest people to buy gifts for.



Once you`ve signed in with your name, age, and email address, a series of 12 gift ideas are presented, while cameras inside the booth monitor your facial expressions. The whole process takes around five minutes.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Rupert Murdoch

When Theranos was at its prime, it attracted funding from big-name investors who poured millions into the blood testing startup. Now, we`re learning the identity of some of those private investors for the first time, and who stands to potentially lose big if the startup`s troubled timeline can`t be turned around.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Rupert Murdoch, Cox Enterprises, and Riley Bechtel of Bechtel Group, one of the largest construction companies in the world, were among Theranos` early investors. Murdoch and Cox each put 100 million into the company during its most recent funding round of 632 million, which came to a close in 2015, according to The Journal. 

Murdoch is the executive chairman of the Journal`s parent company, News Corp. In an interesting twist, The Journal was the first publication to report on trouble at Theranos in October 2015.

Theranos remains mired in legal battles, including a 140 million breach of contract suit filed by Walgreens earlier this month and a new lawsuit filed Monday by Robert Colman, cofounder of San Francisco investment bank Robertson Stephens & Co. The suit alleges that Theranos was misleading its investors and making false claims about its technology, according to the Journal

Theranos also shut down its lab operations in October after the accuracy of the test was called into question, cutting 340 jobs and closing the Wellness Centers where blood tests were performed. Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is now banned from the lab-testing industry for the next two years. 

That setback, plus what will likely be expensive legal battles as Theranos fights the Walgreen suit, are likely to cost the company millions. The startup was once valued at 9 billion and, according to Pitchbook, has raised more than 750 million to date.

SEE ALSO: The rise, fall, and pivot of Theranos, in one graphic

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Scientists have discovered why American honey bees are turning into zombies

BAGHDAD/MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - A full siege is developing in Mosul as poor families struggle to feed themselves after prices rose sharply following the U.S.-backed offensive on the Islamic State-held city in northern Iraq, humanitarian workers said on Tuesday.
ERBIL (Reuters) - When Kurdish forces began firing rockets at a suspected Islamic State hideout in northern Iraq, one of those inside, former bakery worker Walid Ismail, said he tried to persuade the others to surrender.
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